, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – Administration Police (AP) Commandant Kinuthia Mbugua and senior officers under his command spent the better part of the day defending the existence of their unit and rejecting proposals to be merged with the regular police.
While appearing before the Task Force on Police Reforms Mr Mbugua told panel members at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) that his department deserves full autonomy and maximum support.
“We should not be talking of a merger with the regular police force at this time. Instead we should be talking of how to empower the APs,” he told journalists soon after giving his presentation before the Justice (Rtd) Philip Ransley-led team.
The team is expected to present a report next month on whose strength the government is expected to carry out comprehensive reforms in security agencies.
Mr Mbugua said his department was a “unique kind of security department though complimentary to the Kenya police and other security agencies.”
“It is my strong belief that the presence of the AP is a unique but very strategic and an important internal security arrangement which should not be merged with the Kenya police,” he said.
He pegged his defense on what he termed as a unique deployment policy because AP officers “are deployed within the grassroots in all parts of the country.”
“At a modern time like this, it would not be prudent to merge the two departments because we will be denying Kenyans the security they have always had by interacting with APs at their door step,” he added.
Unlike the Kenya police, Mr Mbugua said, more than 70 percent of APs are deployed to the grassroots where they work hand in hand with chiefs and local administrators in providing security.
His views sharply contradicted those given on Wednesday by Police Commissioner Maj Gen Mohammed Hussein Ali who is advocating for a merger of the two departments.
The Waki commission which investigated and documented evidence on the 2007 post election violence was the first to recommend the merger of the two departments, citing a lack of accountability.
Under the current structure, the AP commandant is supposed to be accountable to the Police Commissioner but he is seen to fail to do so because his officers directly report to chiefs, their assistants, District Officers, Commissioners and Provincial Commissioners who are answerable to the Office of the President.
The Police commissioner wants the two units merged to enable the holder of that office assume full responsibility of the Administration Police.
Unlike Mr Mbugua’s presentation on Thursday where he was accompanied by nearly all his senior officers, Maj Gen Ali chose to do it alone and made his presentation in private.
Journalists who camped at the KICC to interview the police chief were told the session was a closed-door affair.
No statement was dispatched from his office at Vigilance House on key issues he raised before the Task Force.
Sources told Capital News Maj Gen Ali was “too defensive of his department and only emphasised the need to have the AP merged with regular police.”
A source who saw his written submission to the Task Force said the police chief had also called for “more resources.”
“He told the task force his department requires more resources and adequate facilitation to be able to tackle emerging crimes in the country,” said the source who did not want to be named.